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Three innovative medicines win Prix Galien awards

Published on 27/09/06 at 12:34pm

Three pharmaceutical products have been awarded prizes at this year's UK Prix Galien awards, which recognise excellence in pharmaceutical development and innovation.

The eminent panel of judges jointly awarded the top prize to GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix, a vaccine which prevents gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus infection, and Novartis' Xolair, a treatment for severe allergic asthma.

Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa), an orphan drug treatment for Pompe Disease, manufactured by Genzyme was also singled out as an outstanding innovation in treating the needs of patients with a rare disease.

The judging panel was chaired by Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).  Commenting on the awards, he called for the UK pharmaceutical industry to receive greater recognition for its work.

"For many years outstanding achievement in UK pharmaceutical research and development has been acknowledged only within the industry. It's now time for everybody to become aware of the great work being done in this sector," said Professor Rawlins.

"Some outstanding research, which has real benefits for patient care and treatment, is self-evident when you look at this year's winners and previous winners of this award."

Previous winners of the award have included Roche's Herceptin and Pfizer's Viagra, both of which have become major drugs for use in everyday practice. Another winner, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Prevenar, has just been added to the UK Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Prof Rawlins comments were supported by fellow judge Professor Parveen Kumar (President of the British Medical Association), who added: "These awards are independently judged and are highly prestigious. For there to be an unprecedented three winners says something very positive about the quality of innovation being undertaken in the UK and the resulting benefits this will have for patients."

The winning drugs beat off competition from a shortlist of other innovative drugs, including Roche's Avastin and Tarceva and Merck Pharmaceuticals' Erbitux.

Manufacturers submitted their entries for drugs or compounds which were launched, or were granted a new indication in the UK between January 2004 and March 2006.

Winners of the UK awards are entered into the International Prix Galien, held every two years, which sees Prix Galien winners from a number of countries competing against each other on a global stage.

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